Better performance out of a short barrel?

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by circa81, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. circa81

    circa81 New Member

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    Which would do better, ballistic wise, out of a sub 3 inch barrel; 45 acp, or 44 special?
     
  2. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    I think the .44 special. Hornady has a ballistics chart in pdf format, I'll take a look and get back to you. I think they use a standardized barrel length of 4 inches for handgun rounds.
     

  3. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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  4. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    ballistics are not the only issue here. any pistol with a sub 3" barrel is going to have very poor accuracy. 45 acp and 44 sp are very close in muzzle velocity and recoil. what are you after? self defence, accuracy? if you are looking to buy a pistol with a 3" or less barrel length, are you going to use it for concealed carry?
     
  5. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    I didn't see any 45 data generated with a sub 3" barrel. :confused:
     
  6. circa81

    circa81 New Member

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    It's just a hypothetical question about what caliber above a 38 special I would use in a snub nosed for concealed carry.
     
  7. trip286

    trip286 New Member

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    In that case, I think I would take the .44 special. Just because I don't see many around this corner of the world.
     
  8. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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  9. arizona

    arizona New Member

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    Bull Pucky on accuracy. Short barrels may be harder to shoot due to the sight radius and muzzle flash but their is a ton of evidence that shows the short barrel is more than accurate enough to stabilize rounds. For example Smith & Wesson "J" Frame .38 Revolvers - YouTube
     
  10. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    that's all fine and dandy! but truth be told, doesn't matter how accurate any weapon is. if you can't hit what you can't see, or hit what you aim at, does it really matter how accurate the weapon is? proven fact is that a longer barrel is more accurate than a shorter one. has longer length to keep the bullet stabilized. i have never seen 1000 yard target rifles with short barrels, seems 26-30" is the norm. barrel length is just one factor in a barrels accuracy. what about barrel twist? if you are shooting a short barreled pistol and practice a lot with it, then you will more than likely get more accurate with it.
     
  11. arizona

    arizona New Member

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    Axxe55: Mixing metaphors is like putting feathers on a snake. We are not concerned with rifle accuracy where (many other factors like barrel stiffness and barrel/stock fit start to become involved). (That said I can not help but note that United States Military snipers seem to be getting good accuracy out of 21 to 24 inch barrels not the 26 to 30 inch weapons you cite.) We are however talking about practical accuracy out of concealable firearms. I would argue that the sub 4 inch barrel is not the handicap you propose. The FBI had good service from its 3 inch Smith Model 13 weapons. We also need to recall that the Secret Service issued 2.5 inch model 19 and 66 Smith and Wesson revolvers. I am convinced that frame size is much more important then barrel length.
     
  12. headhunter

    headhunter Member

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    Efficient is an interesting word. At one point, it meant getting the most out out of the least. Cartridges like the .270 Win. and the .30-06 were described as more efficient than the Weatherby .257 or the .300. If I remember correctly they were described as "over bore capacity cartridges". The law of diminishing returns sets in and for the added powder burnt there is less and less velocity gained.
    The game could be changed by the rate of burn of the powder, dimensions (eg. such as the revolver's cylinder gap).

    Efficient and accurate are far different beasts.

    Barrel length and accuracy theory has held that in general shorter stiffer barrels are more accurate. However, shorter barrels have a shorter sight plane and hence are more difficult to shoot accurately. Watching Bob Mundin on Impossible Shots should help you with this after he shoots a balloon at 200 yds with a 2" Smith. As arizona pointed out practice, practice practice.

    I have a 4" .357 that with the same load as my 6" .357 is almost 100 fps faster. And the same is true for my 5".44 mag. it is faster than my 7 1/2" .44 mag. using the same load. Go figure? Same loads but different results, so apparently the cartridges must be equally efficient, however the two .357s and the two .44 handguns are not equally efficient..
     
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    maybe you don't understand the definition of the word accuracy: " a measure of the degree of precision; correctness; exactness. " this came out of Websters dictionary. accuracy is being able to hit what you aim at each and every time! (precision, correctness, exactness) yes they do use shorter barreled rifles, but those are urban tactical rifles, made for usually 400 yrds or less with extreme precision. urban environment. lot different than 500 + shots across open field of fire. with most people a sub 4" barrel is a handicap. most people couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. FBI, with the 3" Smith M13, the Secret Service with the 2.5" Smith M19 and 66. these people practice way more than the average person and have to qualify to remain certified to carry a sidearm, so that said they are better qualified with a shorter barreled pistol. also another point, at what ranges are they shooting accurately at? and i disagree with your last statement, (and i amy be wrong, if so then you're allowed to disprove me!) frame size to me is important yes, but also frame size dictates how large or powerful a shell can be shot with a given size pistol. barrels dictates the accuracy or lack of.
     
  14. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Shorter barrels are absolutely not inherently less accurate. There are plenty of 16" AR15s shooting MOA or less, and some companies even guarantee 1/2MOA with recommended ammunition with their 16" barrels. You lose velocity which gives a more arching trajectory at longer ranges, but the bullet's path is still no less predictable (i.e. just as accurate).

    GPS Defense Sniper School - Sniper Rifle Barrel Length

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_barrel.htm
    "It is worth mentioning that a longer barrel is not inherently more accurate than a short barrel. Intrinsic accuracy is a matter of quality, not length."

    As far as handguns go, if you can't shoot short-barreled guns well, doesn't mean they can't be shot well. I can't shoot small, light guns very well, but I know that can still be surprisingly accurate.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqfCgPREUDE]Ruger LCR Tactical Shooting: "Best Run" by Nutnfancy - YouTube[/ame]

    As far as the OP goes, I like the .44Sp round and really enjoyed shooting light .44s out of my Raging Bull, though I would probably still go with the auto if I could shoot it well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  15. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    lindenwood, i'm not saying you are wrong, and i agree with you on most of what you say. 16" barrels if quality manufacture can be very accurate, but on a sub 3" barrel pistol, i disagree. i may be wrong, (have been before!) but IMO, a short 3" or less barrel does not seem like it will properly stabilize the bullet to be accurate at any type of distance. just my thoughts, would like to hear your reasons. i may have to do some of my own tests, reason to buy another gun! (maybe a 2" 38sp revolver!)
     
  16. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Did you watch the video? The guy was hitting pie plates at 25 yards off-hand with a DA snubby! I know I know I've seen someone do a 3 or 4" group at 25 yards with a Kel-tec PF9 (3"bbl 9mm, in the lightest 9mm platform ever produced), and I've seen people do the same or better with snubbies from solid rests.

    The main problem is just that light, short-barreled handguns are just even more difficult to shoot than full-sized handguns, but they aren't inherently less accurate. Sure, at some point velocities will get too low for the typical rate of twist to stabilize even standard bullets. But within typical velocity ranges, there is no concern with bullet stabilization!

    It's really a non-issue within normal ranges of barrel lengths and ammo loadings :) .
     
  17. IGETEVEN

    IGETEVEN New Member

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    Well stated and good video. :cool:
     
  18. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Thanks :D .

    I do personally suck with small, snappy-recoiling guns :p . I tried a Kel-Tec PF9 for a while and could barely keep them inside a silhouette at 10 yards, whereas I can do that at over 50 yards with a full-sized gun, heh. So, other than my Walther P22, I don't bother with anything less than competition-sized handguns any more for any purpose. I think a lot of it, though, was not necessarily the small size, but the light weight. This caused some flinching, which led to poor accuracy on my part. I've shot a Sig P239 (compact .40Cal) and it was heavy enough that recoil wasn't bad and I could keep them all inside a pie plate at 25 yards. But, only a moderate increase in size gives me like 150fps faster and twice the capacity, so why not?
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  19. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i understand what you're saying, and you make some valid points. maybe i'm of the old line of thought that short snubby barreled pistols were made for close up use and last resort. that being said, maybe for the reasons you said that you suck with small, snappy pistols, could be the same reason i do. but for me personally, i will keep and use them for what i feel comfortable with,very short range, and up close and personal
     
  20. arizona

    arizona New Member

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    I apologize for entering back into the discussion late. Years ago I read an article on barrel length and accuracy unfortunately it was print based and I do not have the information on it. The gist of article was that barrel length need only be about an inch and a half to properly stabilize the 38 special. I strongly believe that much of the myth that short barrels are inherently inaccurate comes from the j frame smiths. These weapons are very light making it easy to pull of target, the sights are typically hard to see and they have quite heavy recoil. Finally most folks just do not like to shoot j frames and thus they never become as proficient as they would like. Compare the j frame to the K frame and l frame snubbies and you find them a horse of a different color. The guns are heavier and thus easier both to hold on target and less punishing in recoil. At best I can get a three finger grip on a j frame versus the full grip on the k and l frames. The sights on the ka and l frames are much easer for my 50+ year old eyes to find. Color me biased but the full framed snub nose revolvers have many virtues including speed from leather (Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting) by Ed McGivern and easer retention in the case of a gun grab (Massad Ayoob). I own 5 full frame snubbies and 1 j frame.
    Although not the article I wanted the following links support my claims

    Defining Handgun Accuracy | Handguns | Guns & Ammo | Page 3
    The Effects Of Reducing The Barrel Length On Velocity And Accuracy In The 223 Remington